In an address read in his name by the Prime Minister, Mr Mohamed Ghannouchi on Wednesday in Tokyo, President Ben Ali reaffirmed Tunisia's commitment to "actively contribute to materializing the principle of effective partnership between Africa and Japan".
The address was given at the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV).
The environment and climate change which constitute the conference's main goals, must be dealt with as a priority for the African continent, said President Ben Ali, noting the continent's vulnerability to climate change as affirmed in recent authoritative reports, whereby "between 75 and 200 million people in Africa will by the year 2020, be exposed to water scarcity".
"This confirms the need to include the issues related to the fight against climate change impacts within the international community's priorities , in accordance with the Tunis Declaration adopted by the International Solidarity Conference on Climate Change Strategies for African and Mediterranean Countries in November 2007" , said President Ben Ali who added that "we appreciate the 'Nairobi Framework' to help African countries benefit from the opportunities offered by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), established under the Kyoto protocol".
President Ben Ali expressed the hope that all developed countries will follow Japan 's example in earmarking 10 billion dollars over 5 years "to sustain the efforts of developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency".
Reiterating his call on oil producing countries to deduct one dollar per oil barrel as a contribution to the UN World Solidarity Fund, the Tunisian President said that "more than ever before, promoting concrete initiatives is required of us".
"Tunisia, said President Ben Ali, "is keen on actively contributing to international efforts to reduce climate change impacts", it has also "ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and joined the Kyoto Protocol in June 2003" , he said , noting that 1,2% of the country's GDP have been allocated to environment protection programs.
Stressing the fact that Tunisian -Japanese cooperation has led to the establishment of Higher Institute for environmental sciences and technologies at the Bordj Cedria technological pole, President Ben Ali concluded his address by reaffirming Tunisia 's commitment to make its "experience and expertise available to African countries as part of tripartite or multilateral cooperation".